The History of Empire Films Part Five

The rise of Empire as a low budget producer with their “Beyond Infinity” video line resembles the start-up of AIP during the drive-in boom of the late ’50s, when a definite market existed for a certain product: films for the teenage audience, the wilder and more outrageous the better. The drive-ins “made” American-International Pictures, and like AIP, the VCR spurred Empire and other companies to produce films for a new market. But-having seen most of Empire’s Beyond Infinity offerings to date-one thing is obvious: unlike AIP, Empire lacks the creative genius of a low-budget auteur like Roger Corman. Imagination is not necessarily related to a film’s budget; low-budget films could be original, entertaining, and thought-provoking. But, Beyond Infinity’s releases thus far have proved to be inane, routine, and boring.

The Empire films follow a standard pattern: an exploitative, campy title; garish ad art; scripts which slavishly follow tried-and true formulas; varying amounts of nudity, gore effects, and juvenile humor. Of course, these traits apply equally well to the offerings of Empire’s competitors, particularly Troma Pictures, although Beyond Infinity product has a California pastel plasticity as opposed to Troma’s sleazy New York sheen. The fact that there is little of real interest to be found in any Beyond Infinity film certainly contributed to the commercial downfall of Empire and its video arm. Though the films themselves may not be completely devoid of entertainment value, most of the creativity seems to have gone into dreaming up the exploitable titles.

Dave DeCoteau, director of several projects released by Empire’s “Beyond Infinity” video label, pegged the fall of Band’s Empire to “the market place. It’s changed,” said DeCoteau. “There was a time that horror and fantasy fans saw just about anything that was made available on video. These days, quality prevails among genre movies, including films that are squarely made for direct-to-video release. You have to make the best movie you can and spend the money to do it right. If someone tries to pawn off a piece of shit, they’re shown the door.”

Reflecting on his three picture stint at Empire, DeCoteau said, “Charlie Band’s company was the young filmmaker’s first stop after college. There was a lot of experimentation as young people learned to work with low budgets. As a result, Empire wound up with a lot of product that was not all that wonderful. The company has been called the Sausage Factory of the Cinema. But you can’t keep making sausages, one after the other, sometimes a steak falls off the conveyor belt. Sometimes that steak is a picture like Stuart Gordon’s RE-ANIMATOR. There’s also a lot of sausages. Creepozoids is one of those sausages … but I’m learning.”

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DeCoteau tied Empire’s loss of revenue to an aborted video output deal with New World Pictures, announced in August 1987, as the event which triggered Empire’s collapse. Over a two-year period, New World Video was to release five Empire titles, including Prison (1987), Cellar Dweller (1988), Buy & Cell (1988), Pulse Pounders (1988), and APPARATUS. “Empire made four of the pictures back to back,” said DeCoteau. “But because of the 1987 stock market crash, the deal between Empire and New World seemed to change; New World refused to pick up all of the Empire films as quickly as planned. They eventually released two of the films: PRISON, which had a limited theatrical run, and also CELLAR DWELLER, but the others are still being worked on.” Empire was purchased last May by Epic Pictures, a European financial consortium supervised by Eduard Sarlui, owner of Transworld Entertainment. “Basically, Empire and Transworld are owned by the same company,” said DeCoteau of the Epic umbrella. “Epic Pictures is finishing all the movies that Charlie [Band] started, which is a good dozen … ARENA, CATACOMBS, DOWN UNDER, SPELLCASTER, ROBOJOX.

Dreamaniac (1986)

DeCoteau, trained as a production assistant on films as diverse as ANGEL and Ken Russell’s CRIMES OF PASSION, made his debut as a producer-director with Empire on DREAMANIAC (1986), released on the company’s Wizard video label, distributed by Vestron. “I started pre-producing it as a picture called SUCCUBUS,” said DeCoteau. “Helen Robinson, who wrote the script knew the head of creative development at Empire Pictures, Debra Dion. Helen mentioned to Debi that she’d like to write a movie for Empire. Debi asked for a sample of her work and Helen gave her the SUCCUBUS script.” Empire, impressed with Robinson’s work, offered to purchase the screenplay; Robinson declined, insisting that De Coteau already owned it.

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“Empire reacted by wanting to get involved in the production,” said DeCoteau. “Only four days before we were scheduled to start principal photography, I met Charlie Band, president of Empire Pictures.” Band not only doubled the movie’s original budget to $60,000, but vowed to reimburse DeCoteau for his personal investment “upon completion of principal photography.”

Wrapped in 15 days, the $70,000 movie was filmed in the abandoned studio of Hustler photographer Suze Randall. The film a blend of critters, slime and skin reunited DeCoteau with Kim McKamy, who made her film debut in DREAMANIAC. “Ironically,” remembers the director, “Kim refused to do any nudity. She was very shy and an all around sweet person.” McKamy later transformed herself into X-rated starlet Ashlyn Gere (aka Kim Patton), whose films-SORORITY SEX KITTENS, BUSH PILOTS, LAID IN HEAVEN—were about as demure as their titles.

“During a screening of the dailies,” recalls DeCoteau, “Charlie Band looked at me and held up ten fingers. I asked what it meant and he said, ‘Ten picture deal.’ I nearly fell out of my chair. We went upstairs, he drew up a contract and opened a $100 bottle of Dom Perignon champagne and we drank it out of Dixie cups. The next day, the cover of Daily Variety read in big bold letters, ‘CHV 10 PIC PACK DEAL WITH EMPIRE.’ [Cinema Home Video partner] John Schouweiler and I went crazy. I was only 25 years-old!

“Whenever Charles had big picture deals, I would be the slave to the market and make the smaller horror, erotic, high concept T&A movies…whatever was hot. I rarely did an ‘A’ movie for him, but I was constantly working.”

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DeCoteau’s subsequent project for Empire was CREEPOZOIDS, produced as a Beyond Infinity release for $169,000. “We wanted to do our own version of ALIENS,” said DeCoteau. “So we put together a picture called MUTANT SPAWN 2000 and I was developing a picture called CREEPOZOIDS, which was actually a hybrid of GREMLINS and GHOULIES. We just flip flopped the titles, referring to the ALIENS rip-off as CREEPOZOIDS.”

“I first met David when he worked as a caterer on a short film called THE CAYTONSVILLE ELEVEN,” says Linnea Quigley. “I was excited to work with him. There’s no huge ‘I’m a director’ ego. He’s not into himself. He’s a good businessman and he talks about stuff besides movies. He even had vegetarian food for me every day, and warm Sparklett’s water for my lusty shower scene in CREEPOZOIDS.”

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DeCoteau not only directed, but also functioned as the movie’s co producer and co writer. In spite of its diminutive budget, CREEPOZOIDS was theatrically released on a double-bill with SLAVE GIRLS FROM BEYOND INFINITY. The twin bill was released by Urban Classics, the theatrical arm of Empire’s Beyond Infinity video line. CREEPOZOIDS made the transition to video a few months later in January ’88, selling 15,000 tapes for Empire, according to DeCoteau.

Empire The Imp poster

DeCoteau’s next film for Empire, THE IMP, was limited to a shooting schedule of two weeks. Budgeted at $190,000, with ten per cent in above the line costs for DeCoteau’s expenses as director and co-producer, locations were selected outside of Los Angeles to conserve funds. “Los Angeles is the most expensive city in the world to make a movie,” said DeCoteau, “because of the permits, location costs, and everything like that. It’s hard to rent a basic middle-class tract house in the Valley for less than a grand a day. You have to go to places like San Marcos two hours south of Los Angeles–and you can get those same locations for $100 or $200. We found all of the cooperation there we really wanted.”

A moral (“be careful what you wish for, you may get it”) is extrapolated from the film’s title character, a mean-spirited genie. Since DeCoteau was not budgeted for elaborate special effects, he settled for a cable operated puppet to play the imp, preferring Grimm’s Fairy Tale simplicity to a “realistic” interpretation. Nevertheless, the movie proved to be so ambitious that the production exceeded its budget; extra expenses came out of DeCoteau’s own pocket.

Creepozoids (1987)

“If we went over budget, our salaries were on the line,” said DeCoteau of Empire’s modus operandi. “So I walked away from THE IMP with very little money because I ended up spending some of my own salary on pick-up shots and things like that. Charlie (Band) isn’t the type to write you a check if you go over budget; you decide on a budget, you shake his hand, and either bring it in on budget or you don’t work anymore. I didn’t make much on that film, but such is life.”

In the film. Michelle Bauer, acquitted herself not only as a B-movie sex kitten but as a thoroughly credible actress and sterling comedienne. “David has a keen sense for people,” says Bauer. “There’s a side of him which is completely understanding. He’s more relaxed than most directors, and likes to have fun. When he was under pressure, it didn’t seem to affect the cast. He kept it under control. We were having fun as friends. It never seemed like we were working at all.”

Nevertheless, production of SORORITY BABES shot during evenings in a San Diego mall and adjacent bowling alley-was sometimes grueling. “There were personal conflicts among, some of the cast,” recalls Stevens. “The late Robin Rochelle Stille drank way too much on the set, and was always beating the crap out of Linnea in their fight scenes. Poor Linnea was constantly applying muscle rub to her many livid bruises. And she had to deal with the teenage angst of young co-star Andras Jones in the room next door. He even dumped his mattress over the hotel balcony, irrationally screaming, ‘I’m in my sexual prime!’ Andras went on to become a rather famous folk singer.”

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Stevens experienced her own trauma, “dealing with another actress who clearly felt threatened by me and spared no punches while shooting our fight scenes. She pushed me down so hard, I dislocated my knee, which I had to pop back into place myself.” DeCoteau recounts, “It wasn’t pretty. She had to take four days off, but was a trouper…did her job without complaint.”

Flying furniture and torn ligaments notwithstanding, the set was infused with a party panache. “It’s the only film I’ve directed where I was continuously drunk,” chuckles DeCoteau, “— many people were! It had an open bar that we put to good use.”

“It’s one of my favorite films,” says Quigley, “because I played a tough girl and kept my clothes on. It’s fun to be mean.”

Charlie’s father, Albert Band, head of production at Empire, startled DeCoteau by insisting that nudity, playfully performed for slapstick scenes, “must” be trimmed from the director’s cut of the movie. DeCoteau, realizing nudity is a commercial exponent of the exploitation formula, appealed to Charles Band. Band inquired about the running time that was assembled for the movie’s rough cut. “I told him we were well under 80 minutes,” said DeCoteau, “When I shoot a picture, rarely does the final footage pass the 80-minute length. So they can’t do much editing because a feature-length film shouldn’t run that short. As a result, Charlie told me to put the nude scenes back in.”

Band retitled the picture SORORITY BABES IN THE SLIMEBALL BOWL-A-RAMA (according to DeCoteau, Band had wanted to make it BITCHIN’ SORORITY BABES … ) and released it theatrically through Urban Classics on a double bill with GALACTIC GIGOLO (originally titled CLUB EARTH), directed by Gorman Bechard.

Like DeCoteau, Bechard was another Band discovery whose independently financed feature PSYCHOS IN LOVE was picked up by Empire for release. Unlike DeCoteau, Bechard had nothing good to say about his stint at Band’s company. “I know what it’s like to be raped, “said Bechard about producing and directing two other features for Empire.

For his next feature, PSYCHOS IN LOVE, a black comedy (a “working woman” addresses the camera with “I guess I thought me being both a manicurist and a psychotic killer would, well, turn a guy off”), Bechard chose to ally himself with Empire.

“They offered me what I thought at the time was a good advance for PSYCHOS IN LOVE,” said Bechard. “I didn’t know better. And they offered me a four-picture deal with it, as an enticement to give them PSYCHOS IN LOVE. When you’re an independent filmmaker, finding the money is the worst thing in the world, and here I was able to do four pictures and pretty much have control. Charlie Band gave me tons of wonderful promises, saying, “Well, you can come up here, assist in the editing …,’ and all these other lines of bullshit. Being basically a fellow who wanted this very badly, I believed everything he said.”

CLUB EARTH, the first of Bechard’s four-picture deal with Empire, was an omen of the discord and mistrust that would sour the relationship. Bechard conceived the movie as a social satire involving an intergalactic tourist. Empire preferred to push CLUB EARTH as GALACTIC GIGOLO, and re-edited Bechard’s original cut into their concept of a more exploitable product.

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“When I gave them PSYCHOS IN LOVE, I had it in writing that they wouldn’t change it at all,” said Bechard. “If I had not done that, they probably would have raped that film and it would have never been a film that I’m proud of. I am proud of PSYCHOS IN LOVE. But I think GALACTIC GIGOLO was sodomized by Charlie Band. We filmed it as a non-animated adult cartoon. That was my concept. We used the brightest colors … I mean, every different set looked like a color cartoon frame from the Sunday paper. In [color] timing the film, [Empire] took out all of the colors and left it really flat and ugly. Their editing and pacing is nothing short of pathetic; they left out some wonderfully funny stuff, and they left in all of the shit. Their motto is ‘when in doubt, cut to a pair of tits.’ I found out that CLUB EARTH was retitled GALACTIC GIGOLO through a brochure from Empire’s Urban Classics; they never had the decency to tell me they were changing the name of my movie.”

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Bechard’s next film for Empire, a black comedy titled TEENAGE SLASHER SLUTS, was presold by the company in foreign markets as Assault of the Killer Bimbos (1988). “They found the word ‘sluts’ to be offensive,” said Bechard of Empire’s logic behind the title change. “And then they go and propose two other movies with the word ‘sluts’ in the title!” Empire eventually completed Bechard’s movie under the title HACK ‘EM HIGH, turning over the ASSAULT OF THE KILLER BIMBOS title to DeCoteau.

“That title presold so well, at [1987’s] American Film Market, it actually scored better than the movies in Empire’s bigger budgeted, non-Infinity division,” said DeCoteau. “Gorman Bechard completed the movie and set up a screening for Empire. It turned out to be a disappointment. Let’s just say that Gorman’s movie did not justify all of the enthusiasm. ASSAULT OF THE KILLER BIMBOS had to be brilliant, or close to it, considering the enormous presales money that was attracted from its title.”

Bechard said he deserves some of the credit for the title’s fabulous presales at the AFM, having instigated an eye-catching spread on the film in People magazine which featured Ruth Collins and Debi Thibeault, the actresses in his version. Bechard laid the blame for Empire’s dissatisfaction with the final film to the manner in which Band ran his company.

Charlie [Band] never read the script,” said Bechard. “I had the script approved by David Ross, who used to be in Empire’s development department, and by Debra Dion, who is now Charlie’s wife. I have a written letter from David Ross which says, ‘Yeh, we like the script. Just make a couple of little changes here and there.’ Basically, we agreed that it was good. Afterwards, I started filming and almost two or three weeks after we wrapped, Charlie calls me up and said he finally read the script. He said he didn’t like it. I don’t know how you run a company and allow someone to use your money to make a film without ever having read the script. That, to me, is not really the way to do business but, again, Empire is not the way to do business. When it became HACK EM HIGH, I said, ‘Wait a minute, there’s no hacking and there’s no high school.’ Of course, they came up with some new scenes that we had to reshoot which were along the lines of the usual Empire quality.”

Empire Hack ‘Em High poster

While Empire fobbed off Bechard’s film as HACK ‘EM HIGH to foreign buyers at Milan’s Mifed Film Market, ASSAULT OF THE KILLER BIMBOS, scheduled for imminent release and eagerly awaited by distributors, existed as nothing more than a concept. Empire frantically searched for an existing script that would qualify as an adaptation of their most exploitable title.

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Charles Band gave up WIZARD VIDEO after he ended his deal with VESTRON. WIZARD was distributed by LIGHTENING which was owned by VESTRON and when he left that deal and went over to NEW WORLD VIDEO which then he only released one movie with them, he started a new label called URBAN CLASSICS which he would handle the physical distribution eternally. He wouldn’t do a label deal and the first released was SLAVEGIRLS and that was doing pretty well and CREEPZOIDS was doing pretty well. And they were doing okay and then they started to make these movies back in Connecticut and they were making them cheaper in Connecticut than they were here in LA. They even had a guy out in New York, Tim Kincaid, who was making movies and those weren’t that bad. But there was a guy in Connecticut named Gorman Bechard who I guess was not only producing, writing, and directing, he was the cameraman and he did lights. And he was making these 35mm movies for only $30,000. Charlie was going wow, I got this great deal. And I was saying, Charlie if you want to give me $30,000 I’ll give you $30,000 but it’s going to look like $30,000. But give me $75,000 – $90,000 and you’ll get better movies. But anyway. Gorman did his first movie and what happened was this major snafu with ASSAULT OF THE KILLER BIMBOS. It was pre-sold with huge amounts of numbers and the URBAN CLASSICS films were presented to foreign buyers as pictures made between $1-2 million. He was showing these films to people overseas after he made them to the movie here and I brought in another director, Anita Rosenberg, who at the time didn’t think she knew what she was doing. But it ended up being the best of the URBAN CLASSICS movies. – Director Dave DeCoteau on the start of URBAN CLASSICS

A serviceable script, described by DeCoteau as a “generic but cute girls-on-the run” adventure, was considered from screenwriter Anita Rosenberg, who had previously written MODERN GIRLS for Atlantic Pictures. DeCoteau postponed his preparation of Beyond Infinity’s SPACE SLUTS IN THE SLAMMER to direct the movie. Rosenberg, however, demanded complete autonomy.

Anita Rosenberg
Anita Rosenberg

According to DeCoteau, “Rosenberg told Empire, ‘Sure, I’ll sell you the script for 100 grand.’ I said, ‘What do you mean, 100 grand? We pay five grand per script!’ She said, “I’ll sell it to you for five grand if you let me direct it.’ I said, “What other films have you done?’ She said, ‘Nothing, though I have done a short film.’ Empire looked at her short film, thought it was adequate enough, and agreed to let Rosenberg direct it.” DeCoteau was hired as producer for “double the usual budget and triple his customary salary.

Though he was reimbursed for services rendered on GALACTIC GIGOLO and HACK ‘EM HIGH, Bechard claims he was shortchanged on the proceeds from PSYCHOS IN LOVE. “We were promised wonderful percentages of the gross, not of the net, on the film,” said Bechard. “I made sure they couldn’t pull any accounting tricks. But they did pull a great accounting trick; they just never bothered reporting to us. We were supposed to be getting quarterly statements and checks. We never got anything. My letters to Charlie Band, complaining about this situation, and the shabby treatment of my films, were ignored.”

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A forthcoming documentary by Kathy Milani, B-MOVIE, traces the production of HACK ‘EM HIGH from the film’s preproduction phase to Band’s phone call alerting Bechard of Empire’s resistance to his adaptation of “a script that Band, up to that point, had not read.” Bechard promises B-MOVIE will enlighten prospective filmmakers to the hazards of low-budget filmmaking. (Milani is currently seeking completion funds and or grants.)

Meanwhile, Bechard is also exorcising his frustrations with Empire through a manual titled “Assault of the Independent Filmmaker;” as the book’s author, Bechard vowed to “paint a no holds-barred picture of the making of each of my films, from the detailed budgets to the whole filming process, to dealing with not-always reputable distributors and investors. Filmmaking is, unfortunately, the sleaziest business in the world, and it bothers me that I can’t picture myself doing anything else.”

Empire I Was a Teenage Sex Mutant poster

When Empire hit the financial skids last year, some theatrical projects like GHOULIES II and CELLAR DWELLER went straight to home video while others were shelved as incomplete. For a company that in the past boasted production agendas cluttered with a dozen titles pegged as either in production “or” in preparation,” in 1988 Empire launched only one-Dave DeCoteau’s Dr. Alien (1989) (I Was a Teenage Sex Mutant), started on a budget of $400.000. The company folded before production was finished.

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But Band opened up shop again late last year, calling his new operation the Bandcompany, like Empire specializing in international sales, with a video line dubbed Phantom Home Video, and a production arm called Full Moon Productions. Band’s first announced project was Edgar Allan Poe’s THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM, to be directed by Stuart Gordon. “He’s back into making pictures,” said DeCoteau. “He won’t be making as many and they won’t be as cheap.”

When Band jumped ship from Empire, his deal to sell the company gave him ownership of a trio of productions, according to DeCoteau. Band used the films, including DeCoteau’s I WAS A TEENAGE SEX MUTANT, THE INTRUDER (formerly NIGHT CREW), and JUNGLE HEAT (formerly PIRANHA WOMEN) to form his new company and subsequently negotiated a contract with Paramount Home Video for their release. I WAS A TEENAGE SEX MUTANT, now retitled DR. ALIEN!, was scheduled to be released in November.

Interview with Dave DeCoteau

Looking back on the beginning of your career, how would you appraise Dreamaniac?
Dave DeCoteau: Dreamaniac was an experiment; it was my little film school project, wrapped up in ten days. It was like learning how to do it, and learning how do it quickly, because I only had ten days to learn a career’s worth of information and make a decent movie. It was made on a $60,000 budget.

The ending of Dreamaniac-with the abrupt disclosure of a succubus as a mental patient-seems like a postproduction afterthought. Who was responsible for the cop-out compromise?
Dave DeCoteau: Me. I decided to go with kind of a triple-twist ending, just for the hell of it, since the film had nothing else to offer.

Your films have gotten even more exposure on cable TV, what with broadcasts on USA, Pay-Per-View…
Dave DeCoteau: But, you know, Creepozoids and Sorority Babes In The Slimeball Bowl A-Rama did better, during their original release, in foreign territories than domestically. We were well received in Britain. Creepozoids was number seven on the Top Ten Selling-Rental charts during the month of its release; The Untouchables was number eight! Sorority Babes, released in the United Kingdom as The Imp, did almost as good business as Creepozoids.

What’s the background of Sorority Babes In The Slimeball Bowl-A-Rama, your most unique movie?
Dave DeCoteau: Charlie (Band) wanted, a “little genie” movie to be called The Imp. I came in the next day, and read off five story lines. The fifth one was a joke, never intended to be taken seriously, about a little genie that was squished inside a bowling trophy back in the 50s and unleashed upon some sorority babes and fraternity initiates on Hell Night. Charlie liked that concept more than any of the other ones, and we decided to go with it.

There’s a frantic chase scene, near the conclusion of Sorority Babes, without music on the soundtrack. Was this intentional or an accidental omission?
Dave DeCoteau: The music channel of the entire Reel Seven did not make it to the one inch video master. When you do a final mix on a picture, you mix sound on three stripes-the dialogue, the music, and a (sound) effects track. You do the video mastering by taking your film, and your three channels of sound, and putting them onto broadcast-quality one-inch video tape for half-inch duplication. When they transferred the entire show, they accidentally forgot to drop the music channel from Reel Seven; they only transferred two channels, the dialogue and effects. The music’s omission marred the film. Fifteen or twenty-thousand copies of the tape went out without the musical channel on Reel Seven, which is the climax of the film and (originally) had an incredible musical score. I was very upset because Empire, at the time, did not let me quality control the one-inch masters. First-time viewers of Sorority Babes may prefer to hum their own theme.

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Tell me where did you come up with the title SORORITY BABES IN THE SLIME BOWL-O-RAMA?
Dave DeCoteau: I didn’t come up with the title. It was shot as THE IMP and Charlie Band came up with the title. He had a little I fun to watch. The experience was a lot of fun, Making movies is never really been that much fun. The two best days of making a movie is the day you get the financing and the rap party. And everything between is a pain in the fucking ass. You always have to compromise, you can’t do exactly what you want to do. Because the budgets are so low the schedules are tight and you can’t always get the actors you want and you get the actor, you could only use him for a couple days and you can’t use him for any overtime. The process is real tough. And I think PUPPETMASTER III as being my best film in most people’s eyes but just had a horrendous time making that film.

Which of your pre-Doctor Alien (1989) films is your favorite?
Dave DeCoteau: I have to admit I have this bizarre affection for Creepozoids, I don’t know what it is, but when I was making that film I really took it deadly serious and expected it to be a lot better than it was. The reviews have been horrible, but-God!-every time I show it to somebody, they kind of, like, smile. It’s actually a serious attempt, whereas all the other films we’ve been doing seem to be a little campy or silly.

Didn’t Creepozoids get positive reviews in Europe?
Dave DeCoteau: Excellent reviews! The United Kingdom is asking for a sequel and they’re ready to cut a check to finance it. Unfortunately, I don’t have the sequel rights to that film, so I probably won’t do it.

You made some of your past films for under $200,000. What was the budget on Doctor Alien?
Dave DeCoteau: About $400,000. It’s a home video, a damn good example of direct-to-video product. I love it. It’s a very entertain. ing film for me, and everyone seems to enjoy it. The only problem about not releasing it theatrically is that it is a comedy, and comedies work very well with large audiences. I’m going to screen it for the Science Fiction Academy here, and for a few other people.

Why did you choose a more mainstream celebrity-Judy Landers-for Doctor Alien and Ghost Writer?
Dave DeCoteau: When we were casting for the Doctor Alien role of Ms. Xenobia, we wanted to go with a Mary Woronov type. Well, we auditioned hundreds of Mary Woronov, Barbara Steele and Caroline Munroe types, and we realized it just didn’t work the way it was written… it wasn’t funny. So I said, “Let’s bring Judy in for a hoot.” I just wanted to meet the girl. She came in with the scenes memorized and gave us a reading, and we were falling on the floor laughing our heads off. She played it so wonderful, and so funny, that she was perfect for the part.

With the exception of your first film, Dreamaniac, your movies have avoided the “sex begets violence” syndrome. Did you consciously reject this routine premise?
Dave DeCoteau: Yeah… women are not victims in my films. A female victim in my films is very, very rare. Women are the aggressors in my movies, they’re the ones who save the day. Look at Linnea Quigley in Sorority Babes: she never showed a nipple and she kicked ass, and she saved the day…

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